According to IBM, every dollar invested into User Experience (UX) can have a ten to hundredfold return on your investment. Many, many things go into creating an enjoyable user experience. Because the UX is so important to the success of your app, we think you should have a very detailed UX checklist to assist your project coordinator in managing the mobile product development project.
The thing is UX is more than meets the eye; there are tens, hundreds, thousands of ways your users may interact with your app… But fear no more, we’ve got you covered in all things mobile design. By following this comprehensive UX checklist for your current and future projects – you’ll win the hearts of your users.
Without further ado, here’s a comprehensive UX Checklist and follow it up with some true Mission Critical Components.
The UX Checklist
- Competitive Analysis: What are other similar businesses and apps doing? What are they doing wrong? What are they doing that you should do? What can you do better? The goal is to make a better wheel, not necessarily to reinvent it. This helps validate the idea.
- Data Requirements define all of the specific metrics and information that needs to be tracked or acquired by the app.
- User Feedback. Check with your customer support team about things your customers have been requesting. This is an important ongoing process.
- User Stories and Personas – Who, what, when, where and why? Who will use the app, for what reasons, what the outcome will be, etc.
- User Flows answers “How?” users will engage the app, screen by screen and action by action to achieve the desired result.
- Red Routes. Aim to optimize and logically group content and functions according to what users will do most.
- Brainstorm Session – get designers, developers, and others on the project together with white boards and markers and let the ideas flow. If you’re not sure how exactly to do that quickly and with top-notch result, you may be better off with a Mobile Strategy Workshop.
- Make a Wireframe, sort of a digital blueprint for the app, structuring the user stories, flows and red routes to define how the navigation system fits them all together.
- Prototyping can start on paper or in html and progressively iterate toward increasingly functional versions.
- Information Architecture – how everything like the user interface and supporting databases fit together to make using the app easy for the end-user.
- Define accessibility requirements – list of devices, degree of backwards compatibility, or other user-related limitations.
- Create a style sheet for consistency across all screens. Two or more versions are desirable as you will ultimately do A/B or Multivariate testing to see which performs best.
- Gesture support for swiping for left and right-handed people, pinching, dragging, zooming, rotating, motion-detection as may be needed for smartphones, wearables and IoT devices, etc.
- Responsiveness to future changes and new devices takes a look at how the app may fit with other devices and technologies.
- Fast Loading Times and/or download progress indicator.
- Error Attribution – Is the app or the end-user responsible for an error? Either way, it needs to be tracked and communicated to those who can fix it – whether the design team or the end user, as for example using an incorrect password or incomplete email address. Don’t let usability issues creep into your app early on.
- Fast confirmation of user actions, order confirmations, form completion, etc. Avoid using too meny popups. Pop-ups can also be useful for providing feedback and advice or focusing user’s attention on something important to what they are trying to do. That helps define the guideline — does it help the user? Or is it distracting from and interrupting their experience?
- KPI Setup – make sure all of the metrics and information that needs to be tracked is getting tracked.
- Your A/B or Multivariate Test Plan should look at two or more versions of the following components to see what end-users most and contribute toward the best performance metrics:
- Use Images and Icons appropriate to your audience.
- Fonts, Font Sizes and Colors conform to a consistent style. Bad copy equates to a bad user experience. Using 10px Verdana made sense back in the days when screens were 640 pixels wide. Today it is a mistake. The recommended font size is 14px or even 16px and above. Don’t make your users pinch to read the text. 16 pixels is not big. It’s the text size browsers display by default. It looks big at first, but once you use it you quickly realize why all browser makers chose this as the default text size.
- Make every word count with easily recognizable Calls to Action. MAke sure all the CTAs are clearly visible.
There’s a fun and effective technique of checking whether your buttons and calls to action are visible on the screen: The Squint Test. It’s quite literal – display your design on screen and squint your eyes (close them partially to distort your vision). The CTA or buttons should still be visible.
- Micro Interactions – make it easy for users to change settings, share with others, synch with other devices, and all of the little things that makes life easier for the user.
- Finalize Layout by fully implementing the feedback gathered during your A/B or Multivariate Test.
- Transitions – look at ways of adding motion or effects to add to the experience of users switching between screens.
- Test with labs, beta testers, conduct surveys and use the information gathered to fix what can be fixed before publicly launching your app.
Mission Critical UX Checklist Components
The entire UX Checklist process should lead you to several very important desired outcomes. While every step is important, some items have an immediate and massive impact on a user’s first experience with your app – even before they download it.
You MUST have a GREAT Icon!
Your app icon should make your app easily recognizable in the ocean of others. Remember the apps you use every day – you can notice them in a huge list of app icons on the screen. It’s worth it to put some thought and effort in creating a custom design with shapes and colors to really stand out.
Your images MUST be HIGH-QUALITY
Studies show that HD product images in mobile application interfaces can increase mobile conversion by as much as 9%! Avoid cheesy stock images, people have learned to ignore suits shaking hands. Photo quality is important, “attractiveness” adds polish and professionalism. We’ve had cases when UI/UX improvements boosted online sales by 20%.
Having zoom-in photos is a great way to give your users a better look at the product. Pick a default image that is shown in full size and display clickable thumbnails that produce enlarged images. Don’t just show a single image, show as many as you can – from different angles.
Fewer Clicks is Always Better
Referencing User Flows and Red Routes, strive to make the most frequent and popular functions or features involve as few clicks as possible – the ideal is “one click” access. That’s not always going to be possible, suffice that the more you can do to make it fast and easy for users to do what they want, the more likely they are to continue to use your app.
Also, strive to protect your users from any mistakes or misunderstandings. This involves being clear about the reason for any error messages – is there a poor connection, a busy server, or did the user make a mistake entering their information? With any purchases, it should also be very clear for users to review their order before tapping to complete their transaction.
The UX Checklist and Project Management Recap
We recently covered the value of development checklists to help your project manager. We noted there, that it is difficult to expect your mobile app developer or designer to know as much about your industry as you do. If they did, they probably would not be in the business of app development. So, it’s your industry experience coupled with your designer and development team’s experience that combine to make a great app that fits your audience and market.
Your questions are always welcome. If there are parts of UX that you don’t understand, the project manager for your app will be happy to answer any questions you may have. And there’s a collaborative process between you or your project coordinator and your development team to really capture your brand’s personality and position to deliver the kind of experience that makes your users, often your customers, stay in love – or fall in love – with your business.